As COVID-19 has brought tourism to a complete standstill, the United Nations is working closely with international organizations, governments, and the private sector to support the responsible and timely recovery of the sector, on which millions of small businesses and jobs depend.
“It is imperative that we get the world moving again – once it is safe to do so,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
All 217 destinations worldwide have restrictions in place, and 72 percent of them have placed a complete stop on international tourism, according to data collected late last month by the agency.
The global tourism decline has already taken a toll on national economies, people’s livelihoods, and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Pololikashvili said.
Yet the sector is ideally positioned to lead the world toward recovery, serving as the vehicle to channel trust – “the new currency of our ‘new normal’”.
“As the ultimate person-to-person sector, and one that promotes solidarity and friendship, tourism will play a key role in spreading trust more widely, with benefits traveling far beyond tourism itself,” he said. “Only this way can we drive our economies back towards growth and start rebuilding our societies.”
Alongside a set of recommendations for action to mitigate the socio-economic impact of COVID, UNWTO has issued a package of guidance to Member States on three potential areas of intervention to accelerate the recovery of tourism: economic recovery, marketing and promotion, and institutional strengthening and resilience building.
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Photo Caption: A solitary passenger at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand. Photo Credit: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng